The future of technology promises to be an adventurous one, individuals, small companies and even the Tech Giants are working assiduously to stay ahead of their competition. One thing they all have in common, they all use Open Source resources to develop faster, debug faster and deploy faster. Open Source gives us all the ability to share, collaborate and making significant improvements locally and around the world. Programmers from all walks of life can contribute significant core improvements to an existing product by simply offering their solution through a controlled environment that can be tested and if accepted, added to the updated version of the project.
So what is Open Source, as Wilson(2005), rightfully puts it “Open source describes a group of licenses that all meet a certain set of conditions. The conditions are maintained by a group called the Open Source Initiative, and together they are referred to as the Open Source Definition (OSD).”
As big corporations seek to improve the usability of their products with feature-rich content to users. What they have all come to realize that greater ideas are stemmed from unpaid individuals contributing to projects, “Open sourcing”. This is where big multi-million corporations like Microsoft now owners of PHP and LinkedIn, and Google have now placed their focus.
In my recent research, I uncovered numerous Microsoft Projects being hosted on GitHub(This is a version control environment that allows for collaborative commitments to a project that is then reviewed –accepted to the master or rejected for further corrections). This, in essence, highlights the trends being made in the Open Source paradigm. Open Source is the Future of technology, more so for web apps.
If Open Source is the Future, how can we clearly define an intellectual property and the laws governing it? According to Wilson(2005), he stated that “Computer software is protected by copyright law.” he also further went on to clarify that “copyright law gives the owner of a work certain rights over it, and makes it illegal for others to use the work as though they were its owner.” However, with regards to Open Source contributions, the more persons the ownership becomes more and more complex. In essence, it depends on what the contributors agree upon, whether to copyright to their contribution or to agree to license their contribution with regards to the same license of the original work.
Types of Open Source licenses
- General Public License (GPL)
- “This is a widely used software license, that guarantees an individual, organizations, and or companies the freedom to share, and modify the software.”, (Wikipedia, 2016).
- Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
- “The license allows developers and companies to use and integrate software released under the LGPL into their own (even proprietary) software without being required by the terms of a strong copyleft license to release the source code of their own components.”, (Wikipedia, 2016)
- Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD)
- This “is often used non-specifically to refer to any of the BSD descendants which together form a branch of the family of Unix-like operating systems.”, (Wikipedia, 2016)
Open Source Tools and Languages
|Tools||What are they used for||Source|
|Falcon||“Designed to be light, fast and flexible, Falcon is a Python framework for building cloud APIs and web app back-ends.”, (Harvey, 2015)||https://falconframework.org/|
|Cloud9 IDE||“Cloud9 gives developers access to a cloud-based code editor and Ubuntu workspace. The link above connects users to the hosted service with free and paid plans available; users can also set up their own Web server hosting the IDE using the code from GitHub.”, (Harvey, 2015)||https://c9.io/|
|Eclipse||“One of the most well-known and popular groups of development tools, Eclipse offers IDEs for Java, Java EE, C/C++ and PHP.”, (Harvey, 2015)||http://www.eclipse.org/|
|PHP||PHP BSD||“PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to server-side web development, in which case PHP generally runs on a web server.”, (Wikipedia, 2016)||http://php.net/|
|Python||PSF (GPL compatible)||“Python is a general purpose programming language created in the late 1980s, and named after Monty Python”, (Love, 2014)||https://www.python.org/about/apps/|
|Ruby||Ruby or GPL||“It is used in a wide range of fields, but is best known as a language for Web Applications, because of the Ruby on Rails framework.”, (Thompson, 2013)||https://www.ruby-lang.org/en/|
|Unix Shell||BSD||“A Unix shell is a command-line interpreter or shell that provides a traditional Unix-like command line user interface.”, (Github, n.d)||http://swcarpentry.github.io/shell-novice/|
In conclusion, since the inception of Open Source, it has made positive strides in the field of Technology and innovation. The Linux Operating system and PHP is a true testament of the power thereof. “Open source licenses aims to create a community of contributors who will fix and develop the software,” Wilson(2005). However we can not ignore some of its negative implications; by using open source software within an organization, it does not provide extensive support and also not all contributors have good intentions for the software, so without proper management, this could become detrimental. If one chooses to use Open Source products, keeping tabs on changelogs and activities regarding the same is always important.
Harvey, C. (2015) 101 Open Source Tools for Developers, Available at: http://www.datamation.com/open-source/101-open-source-tools-for-developers-1.html (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Love, K. (2014) What is Python Used For?, Available at: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/what-is-python (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Thompson, J. (2013) What is the Ruby language and in which field is it used?, Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Ruby-language-and-in-which-field-is-it-used (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) Berkeley Software Distribution, Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Software_Distribution (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) GNU General Public License, Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) GNU Lesser General Public License, Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Lesser_General_Public_License (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) PHP, Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PHP (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) Unix shell, Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_shell (Accessed: June 28, 2016).
Wilson, R. (2005) Open Source Development – An Introduction To Ownership And Licensing Issues, Available at: http://oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/iprguide (Accessed: June 28, 2016).